Sing With Us

Barbershop is an ever-growing fraternity of men who enjoy singing. To that end, we're constantly striving to build a bigger, better Sons of the Severn chorus. Are you a man with singing experience? Do you want to make incredible, life-changing music in an uplifting team environment? Then we encourage you to visit a rehearsal and experience barbershop for yourself. If you live within an hour's drive of Annapolis, Maryland, and if you've sung in a choir, glee club, college a cappella group or similar ensemble, we want to meet you.


Visit A Rehearsal

Our weekly rehearsals and Open Auditions take place on Thursday evenings at 7:00 p.m. in the lower level auditorium at Trinity United Methodist Church, 1300 West Street in Annapolis (map & directions).

The first portion of the meeting (7:00 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.) is devoted to chapter activities and business. The second half (8:30 p.m. to 10:00 p.m.) is the Sons of the Severn performing chorus rehearsal. Guests are always welcome at our meetings and are encouraged to participate during the first portion of the evening. During the chorus rehearsal portion, guests are invited to take a front row seat, observe the rehearsal, and offer feedback from an audience perspective. Guest input is very valuable to the chorus; it helps us to better understand our audiences and develop more entertaining show packages.


Open Auditions

The basic skills audition for the Sons of the Severn performing chorus is a simple process that takes place over a period of three to four weeks.

On the first Thursday of your audition, you will take a preliminary voice assessment. This will enable us to evaluate your vocal range, your strengths as a singer, and the most appropriate barbershop voice part for you. You should be prepared to sing the melody to a familiar song of your choosing by yourself, and sing through some basic pitch matching and harmonizing exercises.

Once you've completed your assessment, we will assign you a voice part and give you the sheet music and a part-predominant learning CD or MP3 for your final audition song. The learning media will always have your designated voice part on one channel (usually the left) and the remaining three parts on the other channel. This enables you to isolate your part in order to learn the tough spots, or to sing along in a quartet with just the other three parts.

On the second Thursday of your audition, you will be invited to practice your audition song with our performing chorus during the rehearsal block. It is also a good idea to find three other singers during break time or quartet time to practice on your own, since your final skills test will be to sing the song in a quartet.

The third Thursday is your first opportunity to pass the basic skills audition. You will be placed in a quartet with three solid members of the performing chorus (typically the section leaders). The director or a member of the music team will listen and evaluate as you sing your audition song. Your evaluator will listen for four basic criteria in your performance:

Does the singer know all the notes, and is he singing in tune?
Does the singer know all the lyrics, and is he delivering them clearly with good diction?
Does the singer have command of the musical devices and embellishments (rhythm/rubato, swipes, dynamics, etc.)?
Does the singer's voice blend with the ensemble (free of strain and excessive vibrato)?

Once you have sung for your evaluator, he will determine whether you have passed the audition or need more practice. If he decides you need more practice, you may take an additional week to drill the parts of the song he identifies as needing work, and sing the song again the following Thursday. If, after an additional week, you still haven't met the criteria for the performing chorus, you may be encouraged to spend some more time getting acclimated to barbershop, then try again with another audition song.

There is no limit to the number of times you can audition for the chorus. However, if you have a strong desire to perform, but cannot meet the audition standard for the Sons of the Severn, don't be discouraged. Our criteria are a bit more demanding than other groups of our kind. If auditioning again doesn't appeal to you, then we can help you find a barbershop chapter in the area that is better suited to your abilities. The important thing is that you keep singing.


Membership Process

Once you have passed your basic skills audition, you will be welcomed as a "rookie" member of the Sons of the Severn performing chorus. At this time, you will be invited to stand on the risers during the chorus rehearsal portion of the chapter meeting, and we will assign you a riser guide who will coach you through the early stages of membership.

You will be responsible for learning your part to the remainder of our chorus repertoire (twelve to fourteen songs), and be expected to do so within a reasonable length of time. During this break-in period, your riser guide will check in with you periodically to prioritize your learning efforts and evaluate your progress. As you demonstrate proficiency on repertoire songs, your riser guide will sign off and clear you to perform these songs. You will be eligible to perform only the songs for which you are cleared. It is perfectly normal for new members to step aside for a song or two during a performance, then return to the risers.

To remain active in the performing chorus, you will be expected to attend rehearsals regularly, learn new music and choreography within prescribed timeframes, demonstrate continued proficiency on existing repertoire by singing in quartets, and attend any and all performances for which you are available. Your riser mates will be counting on you to show up prepared for rehearsals and performances, and you should expect the same from them. It is a culture we refer to as, "earning your spot on the risers every week." This philosophy is what keeps us moving forward and improving as an ensemble.